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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Meeting Madness

in: Attendee Experience Event Planning Advice

no-more-boring-meetings-014March may be over, but the madness is certainly not. March Madness found crazed basketball fans stationed at their couch, mini-fridge at arm’s length and watching one college basketball game after another. Now the Final Four battles approach, with Louisville vs. Wichita State and Syracuse vs. Michigan. For many fans the whole world has been put on hold, as their mind bounces to all things basketball. This got me thinking, it is much like meetings; when our “fans” show up for our meeting, it is our duty to give them space to put their minds on hold. To take them out of their everyday and provide with something so engrossing, that they give us their undivided attention.

How do we create “Meeting Madness” for our fans? Here are some ideas for you!

Think of your event as a brand and use buzzwords to capture their attention.  Hmmmmm, did you click on the buzzwords link?  I am not sure if all these words will make it – Phablets, really? Keep your eye out, I think I am going to challenge myself to use these words in a future blog : )

One buzzword that is surely here to stay is sustainability. Make sure to create sustainable meetings; green is a go for you and your team. Also, do not assume that your idea of green and the host property’s idea of green are the same, make sure to discuss all green initiatives up front. Your attendees will very much appreciate your effort! See how McDonald’s Supersized their sustainability efforts at their annual Worldwide Convention.

I have blogged extensively about the role of online marketing and social media in your meetings; see my blogs about technology, utilizing Twitter, Pinterest and QR Codes. Blogging is also important! I happen to love it : ) Make sure you keep up on social media, it gives you the option to remain at the forefront of your attendees’ minds before, during and after your event. Get them involved as much as possible with your social media and keep them engaged. Ask them questions, allow for collaboration, listen, be open, it will show and your meetings will be “Mad!”

Now let’s talk Content. Do you know what your attendees want to learn? If not, ask them via your social media channels. Do you have engaging speakers that can teach, open up perspectives, present new thoughts and keep everyone awake? If not, ask your fellow meetings planners for recommendations. Are there industry people that are yet to be discovered? Discover them! Talk with them, find out if they are ready to take it all up a notch and present. Talk with your host property to learn about available area activities and entertainment – and have received amazing reviews!

Networking is another biggie. Property lay out is huge for this one. Are there large open areas where your group can convene and meet each other? Alternately, are there areas where smaller groups can meet to chat, plan and share?  Also, what are you doing to promote networking. A friend of mine recently attended TEDActive in Palm Springs. Before he went they provided him with the names, pictures and profiles of ten people also attending, these people were in complimentary fields, what an amazing way to encourage connection!

Don’t have time to get all this done? Need to find a property that promotes and represents the requirements of your meeting and its attendees? Well, that’s an easy one, call me, I can give you that extra time you need! 636-797-3405.

Thank you to Kelly Vandever for the image!

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